The BCC Weekend Interview Series: Chaplain (Captain) Mark Worrell and Military Chaplaincy

June 28, 2014

Ministry Interview Series--Generic

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Ministry Interview Series--Generic

BCC Staff: As part of our BCC vision, we want to point you to the best of the best in robust, relational, biblical counseling. Periodically we’re posting (and then making available as an ongoing resource) interviews with churches, para-church groups, educational institutions, and individuals committed to biblical counseling. You can find links to all of our interviews here.

Today we’re pleased to connect with Chaplain (Captain) Mark Worrell who is an army chaplain.

BCC: “Chaplain Worrell, please introduce our readers to your ministry.”

MW: “The mission of the United States Army is to fight and win our Nations’ wars. The Army commissions certain people to assure that we are best prepared to do just that. So, to whittle it down to what a Chaplain does: our mission is to bring God to Soldiers and Soldiers to God as well as to assist with the spiritual resilience of our Soldiers (resilience has become an often-used term lately within the Army to mean the ability to ‘bounce back’ after small or large challenges in our lives. This is a key way that biblical counseling can help). Each Chaplain is Seminary or graduate school trained, ordained in their faith tradition, and endorsed by a faith body. I am a Baptist Pastor who happens to be a Chaplain. While I make sure that Soldiers can all worship the way that they choose, I am expected to preach the Gospel and stay true to my faith tradition.”

BCC: “What are the primary services/ministries that you offer?”

MW: “I currently have about 300 Soldiers in my battalion and also serve in a chapel on Fort Bragg, NC. I am a Pastor to those 300 as well as their families and help to ensure that the ministry at chapel is prepared for worship and the associated ministries we conduct throughout the week there. The official answer is that Army Chaplains advise the command on matters pertaining to religion, ethics, morals, and morale. We have the privilege of doing a large variety of ministry services and are blessed to see God work in lives—sometimes building bridges to ministry (See Church of Irresistible Influence by Robert Lewis and Rob Wilkins) with events such as Retreats for families or single Soldiers where we teach things to help in their everyday lives (these can, and often do, include some faith elements). A lot of us put an optional worship service or devotional in the retreat in order for Soldiers and their spouses to ‘lift up the hood’ and see real answers from the Word of God. We also have opportunities to preach, counsel, check on Soldiers, deploy, and be an officer whose goal is to help Soldiers and their families handle the multiple pressures of what they face as an Army family.”

BCC: “What is the history of your ministry/organization? Tell us your story.”

MW: “June 14, 1775 is the Army Birthday. I like to tell people that General Washington watched his new Army for 45 days and said, ‘We need Chaplains!’ The Army Chaplain Corps is the second oldest ‘job’ in the Army and was formed on July 29, 1775, ‘when the Continental Congress authorized one Chaplain for each regiment of the Continental Army, with pay equaling that of a captain. In addition to Chaplains serving in Continental regiments, many militia regiments counted Chaplains among their ranks.’”[i]

BCC: “What is your succinct definition of biblical counseling?”

MW: “Let me first make sure it is understood that Chaplains are just like pastors or missionaries. Some believe in biblical counseling. Some do not. My definition is:

“Using the Word of God to show the hope and help provided in Jesus Christ. Changing the vision from getting through the daily mission to glorifying God that starts now for eternity and affects our daily life.’

BCC: “Share a little bit about your staff—who works with you and in what roles?”

MW: “Each chaplain typically has a Chaplain Assistant that makes up the other half of the Unit Ministry Team. By the Geneva Convention, Chaplains are non-combatants so  we are given that enlisted service member whose primary function is to provide force protection (shoot) so that the UMT can go and provide worship services to Soldiers everywhere they might be stationed or on patrol. When not in combat, Chaplain Assistants help with administrative tasks, coordinate events, and check in on Soldiers to see where the Chaplain can serve best. Sometimes the Chaplain Assistant is the Chaplain’s closest ‘neighbor’ (Luke 10:29) as they are not often from the same faith background as the Chaplain, and at times are not believers at all.”

BCC: “What are the types of resources (books, pamphlets, audio/video, book reviews, articles, journals, blogs) that people can find at your site/through your ministry?”

MW: “Most of my counseling is on marriage so I use What Did You Expect, The Exemplary Husband, and The Excellent Wife. I have also used a lot of the mini books designed for military life or for common felt needs that Soldiers and their families have. I enjoy reading the BCC blog to stay the course of bringing God’s Word to hurting Soldiers and families.”

BCC: “What upcoming conferences, seminars, classes, and other training opportunities do you have in the next year? Which ones do you repeat each year as annual events (share permanent links)?”

MW: “As a Chaplain, I am in many ways a Soldier first and expected to remain a leader in the unit, so I work to maintain two different lines of Army training and ministry. This fall, I plan to attend jumpmaster school (as an Airborne Soldier, this is in many ways the next step—a way to take care of those that are airborne, check their equipment and put them out of a plane in flight safely as well). Shelly and I work to stay up to date by attending our denominational conference as well as attending the Biblical Counseling Training Conference at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN (we are members and missionaries of Faith as well, providing essential accountability and an opportunity to report on what God is doing in our lives and ministry) and others when they work with the Army schedule. I also get opportunities to check in on Soldiers that are deployed.”

BCC: “How can people be praying for you and your ministry?”

MW: “I am looking for ways to connect Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen with local churches and with biblical counselors close to the location where they are stationed. I have many opportunities to share the gospel and build relationships. Please pray that Shelly and I continue to bear fruit in our walk with them. Please also pray for our daughter Scharleen. There are a lot of Chaplains that are passionate about the Word of God. Please pray that we continue to stay strong in our walk and demonstrate the reality of God’s Word.”

BCC: “How can people contact you?”

MW: “People can reach me via:

Chaplain (Captain) Mark Worrell
[email protected]
6 Hercules Dr.
Ft. Bragg, NC 28307

BCC: “Chaplain Worrell, thank you so much for this fascinating and informative glimpse into your ministry as a biblical counselor in the military chaplaincy.”